As families find themselves staying at home in an effort to help flatten the curve, there’s a new need for engaging and educational activities to keep children and parents learning and interested in the world around them.

To help fill this void, Santa Monica businesses are stepping up with creative, family-friendly activities to help keep children engaged and learning from home. Read on for a list of content and lessons that can be remotely accessed from the safety of your home.

In need of access to the world wide web? Wander, a local internet provider, is offering free internet for families within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District through the remainder of the school year.

Get started on some family fun with our Santa Monica coloring book, commemorating our city’s end location of the historic Route 66 and featuring color pages of iconic attractions in the beach city. Coloring books are available for download here.

Learn Oceanography with Heal the Bay
Heal the Bay is a Santa Monica-based non-profit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles healthy and clean. The environmental organization has launched a new interactive science education series named “Knowledge Drops,” defined for students in 3rd to 8th grade. In the series, a local team of scientists, experts and advocates explore the water world and offer fun lessons about marine environments.

Live Knowledge Drops sessions are held several times each week, covering topics ranging from sewage and storm drains to marine protected areas and sharks. Each session lasts one-hour and includes a live presentation, Q&A, polls and videos. If you are unable to attend live, past recorded sessions are also posted online. For younger children, Heal the Bay also offers activity guides in the form of colorful guidebooks designed to get kids inter. Guides are available for download in English and Spanish.

Join in on Recess with Cayton Children’s Museum
While the popular Cayton Children’s Museum, located at Santa Monica Place and dedicated to creating a future where young people are nurtured at every age to become compassionate, confident human beings may be closed, they are still finding a way to achieve their mission virtually with Cayton Recess on Instagram.

Movement is vital for child development and with recent school closures, children may be missing out on recess, an essential time to get up and moving. Cayton Children’s Museum is holding virtual recess every weekday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Instagram Live and Youtube. Join in weekly for music, storytime, art making and other activities designed to entertain and engage children.

Master Interior Design with Kelly Wearstler
Iconic interior designer Kelly Wearstler is world-renowned for her colorful and textured designs that play with the concepts of refinement and rawness. Here in Santa Monica she fashioned the interior of Viceroy Santa Monica and most recently the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. The latest hotel in the beach city, Santa Monica Proper Hotel optimizes the city’s abundant ocean breezes and natural light and finds inspiration in the organic tones and textures of the local coastline.

Learn the foundations of interior design from the award-winning designer herself with Kelly Wearstler’s online class on Masterclass. In the eight-part series, Wearstler takes students behind the scenes to learn how to make any space feel larger and choose colors, materials and textures with confidence.

Cook In with the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories
During this period where we are staying home, it is an excellent time to teach children how to cook healthy and hearty meals using the ingredients found in your cupboard. To this end, The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories is helping parents teach children recipes and culinary fundamentals with a nightly “Cook in” with Chef Gino.

Located at Santa Monica Place, the school is a beloved place for adults and children alike to learn classic cooking techniques and use locally sourced ingredients to make amazing meals. While the school is temporary closed, the nightly class designed just for children is held at 5pm on Instagram Live.

Read with the Santa Monica Library  
At this time all Santa Monica Public Library locations are currently closed, however the library system’s extensive digital services offer ample resources to support learning for the whole family. Those with a Santa Monica library card can log-in with their account details to access e-books, e-audiobooks, digital newspapers and magazines as well as stream movies and music.

Attend an Online Arts Workshop with Professional Artists
18th Street Arts Center, the largest artist residency program in Southern California, has launched Arts Learning Lab @ Home, a series of live online arts classes for kids and families schooling from home. These hands-on artmaking workshops are led by professional artists in residence at 18th Street as well as members of their national and international artist community. The workshops will be taught in both English and Spanish for those teachers that are bilingual, and will be live translated in both languages. The workshops cover a range of fun, hands-on, and participatory ideas like meditation through drawing and, a rhythm workshop in your kitchen and a monster movement workshop.

Create Art with Paint:Lab
Children and adults alike are turning to artistic endeavors to fill their time and alleviate stress in these challenging times. Paint:Lab is offering live-streaming art classes for kids. In need of art supplies? The business is also selling art supplies by special order. Call (310) 450-9200 for details.

Make Melodies with Music Lessons
Music has proven benefits for child development and is shown to help improve math skills and lead to greater social-emotional skills. With schools closed, many young musicians may be missing music lessons that come as part of the school day. However, for students who are already learning how to play an instrument, the extra time at home can provide extra time to practice their craft.

J&M Strings, a local music school is offering students virtual lessons through Zoom or FaceTime to help them prepare for upcoming auditions. SMMUSD and LAUSD students get a 20% discount for lessons over spring break (Monday 4/6 through Thursday 4/19). Eligible instruments include: violin, viola, double bass.

Santa Monica based Green Brooms Music Academy is also holding virtual music lessons. Instructional services include piano, voice, drum and percussion, acoustic and electric guitar, string instruments and more.

Improve STEM Skills Online
As students shift from in-classroom learning to studying online from the safety of their homes, many parents may be searching for new ways to help their children develop their skills in STEM disciplines, or science, technology, engineering and math. Digital Dragon is offering online classes and camps taught in real life following a specific schedule. Their programs are aimed at helping technically-oriented kids hone their skills through fun and engaging projects including creating video games, building an app or coding.

For those looking to focus on math exclusively, Mathnasium of Santa Monica has launched Mathnasium@home, live web-based Math tutoring. Offering the same instructors and Mathnasium Method as at their center, learning can happen anywhere there’s an internet connection.

For a wider variety of academic subjects, look to Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services Westside. Offering online one-on-one tutoring services for students pre-K to 12th grade, from subject learning to test preparation. This business also offers college courses.

Enter an Art Competition
Ingo’s Tasty Diner is hosting an Emerging Artists Challenge for kids aged 12 and under. To enter, children can submit an original artwork with a meaningful message to the heroes working to save lives from COVID-19. The Grand Prize winner will have an exclusive solo exhibition at emerging contemporary art space, No Free Bread Gallery in Santa Monica. Runners up will also receive exciting prizes and opportunities. Each artwork must include the LGO Hospitality lemon and orange image in some way. Find full competition details here.

Join A Dance Party with Funky Divas & Dudes
Join the Funky Divas & Dudes in an entertaining dance video series for kids ages 5-12. Have fun and get great exercise, while gettin’ funky with dance industry professionals through pre-recorded video entertainment. Each episode includes a warm-up & new dance routine. The full series of eight episodes is available for a discounted rate of $49.99.

Looking for a live experience? Rock out with the Funky Divas & Dudes in this awesome virtual Hip-Hop Dance class for kids ages 4-12 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Learn the basic techniques of dance, get great exercise, gain self-confidence and HAVE FUN right from your home! This class includes a warm-up/stretch, learn Hip-Hop dance routines to all your favorite radio tunes, and even play some fun dance games!